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HealthCare Volunteer deploys first medical team to Tanzania via partnership with Tanzanian Ministry of Health.

Sumbawanga, Tanzania, CA USA (4/27/2007) - - HealthCare Volunteer will be sending its first task force to Tanzania on May 1, 2007. The group includes Dr. Samuel Feinstein, a general surgeon from Arizona and two third year medical students, May Ching and Stephanie Ng, from Malaysia. The volunteers will arrive in Dar es Salaam and will be escorted to their destination city of Sumbawanga in the Western part of Tanzania. There, for three weeks, they will provide surgeries, vaccinations, and other procedures to the citizens of Tanzania who typically cannot obtain them. HealthCare Volunteer has partnered with the Ministry of Health in Western Tanzania to provide volunteers with basic living expenses and ground transportation in exchange for volunteering at government clinics and hospitals.

A native Philadelphian, Dr. Feinstein has worked for over 25 years as a surgeon in Arizona. He has performed a wide variety of surgical procedures, with a focus on abdominal surgeries. Dr. Feinstein completed a four year residency at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale and finished his medical school training at the Kennedy Medical Center in New Jersey.

While in Sumbawanga, Dr. Feinstein expects to predominantly perform surgeries related to chronic conditions that tend to go untreated due to lack of medical personnel and treatment centers. He will likely perform hernial, uterine, ovarian, and tumor surgeries in addition to emergency procedures as they occur.

This is not the first time that Dr. Feinstein will offer his surgical skills abroad. In 2006, he made two trips to Pakistan to volunteer his surgical expertise there. Dr. Feinstein notes that he has had a great career in the United States, and now wants to give back to the world. Also a photographer, he looks forward to documenting his trip with pictures.

Commenting on the lengthy timeline that frequently precedes government action, Dr. Feinstein notes that oftentimes in humanitarian efforts, far more can be accomplished, and at a much quicker rate, when NGOs take the lead. Dr. Feinstein states, “It is not necessarily that one nation has an obligation [to assist more impoverished regions], but people have an obligation to each other.?

Third year medical student May Ching views this opportunity as one, “With nothing to lose but only everything to gain.? She looks forward to being able to help others while simultaneously learning new skills. Fellow student Stephanie Ng notes, “Healthcare is not only the problem of a particular country but a global condition.? Stephanie wanted to get involved in Tanzania after reading about the poor medical condition of many Tanzanians and the shortage of medical workers there. She states, “As a medical student, I would like to play my part to the society…all I want is to help to ease their pain despite our cultural barrier.?

This trip stands to be a significant merging of backgrounds and cultures. The group will be hosted by a German doctor, who will be working with local Tanzanian doctors and staff, and itself is comprised of an American and two Malaysians. Dr. Feinstein notes that on his trips to Pakistan, there was a similar variety. He did not find significant differences among their medical thoughts and practices, but notes that the trip was, “infinitely more interesting with such a diverse group.?

Dr. Feinstein was looking for a new organization through which to volunteer and came across HealthCare Volunteer. He notes that the staff has been extremely enthusiastic and effective in setting up the details of this trip. HealthCare Volunteer is proud to support Dr. Feinstein, May Ching, and Stephanie Ng as they dedicate their medical knowledge, ability, and compassion to the citizens of Tanzania.

Earlier this year, HealthCare Volunteer sent a dental team under its subsidiary DentalVolunteer but this will be its first medical group to travel to Tanzania. The two groups may meet in Mpanda but this possibility has not yet been finalized. While in Sumbawanga, the group will have internet access and all three individuals will have cell phones.

HealthCare Volunteer, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, was started in January 1, 2006 by an American dental and medical student, who realized the need for a free non-profit portal that connects all volunteers interested in health care to volunteering opportunities. Due to resource constraints, several national health care organizations rightfully chose not to undertake such a drastic project, and so the opportunity to unite health care volunteers globally remained. It was clear that an independent, 3rd party, non-partisan, non-governmental organization (NGO) unaffiliated with any country or entity needed to be formed to promote health care volunteering in a rapidly globalizing world.

By Talya Yefet

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